Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 38-40

Week 38 – Technical: 50mm [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Learn to sneaker zoom! Shoot an image using only the 50mm Focal Length. Either use a fixed 50mm lens or set your zoom lens to 50mm. Since this is the advanced challenge make sure the image is compelling.

This image compels me to eat, I’ll tell you that! Kidding…I took a photo walk by my house with my 50mm and happened upon this sign in a nearby cafe. As it happens, that’s the lens I usually shoot with, so no biggie.

Dogwood Week 38

Week 39 – Art: Water [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your inspiration this week is water. Interpret this how you will.

Another favorite shot of the challenge, taken just as light turned to golden on the Venice Canals. Spot the little water bird in the shadows!

Dogwood Week 39

Week 40 – Story: Colorful B & W [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Tell the story of a colorful scene. Because this is the advanced challenge, no flowers. Do it in Black and White.

This one was HARD – I didn’t find many opportunities that were both colorful and would read in black and white, so eventually took this shot of L.A. at sunset. It’s pretty, but I’m not sure it captures the heart of the challenge…

Dogwood Week 40


Out and About in Massachusetts: Whale Watching

On the last day of our most recent visit Gloucester, we decided at the last minute to try to get tickets on a whale watching excursion. I hadn’t been on a whale watch  since I can remember (so, mayyyybe childhood?), and it was a beautiful late summer day. Of course, our last-minuteness also meant it was super hard to get tickets, but eventually we lucked out with Capt. Bill and Sons. Before long, we were loaded onto a boat and off to sea (spoiler alert: we found some whales)!

Whale Tail

The trip out to see the whales was pretty – especially while we were still near Gloucester and passing lighthouses and seagulls and boats – but quite long, as the whales were actually hanging out closer to Cape Cod (the whole round trip took 4-5 hours). The boat was well equipped with seats and bathrooms and a pretty impressive snack bar, but the Boy ended up getting a bit seasick, which made the long trip even longer for him. I enjoyed the sun and wind and ocean views, and didn’t have too much trouble with the motion.

Eventually, we got to the whales, and the whole boat was immediately up in arms rushing from side to side to see them. A number of other boats had gathered on the scene, but we still got our fill. The staff was great about explaining which whales these were (they were studying them) and how they were behaving.


We never saw a WHOLE whale, as their behavior pattern went something like this:

  • Rise to the surface to breath, maybe spout some mist
  • Stay at the surface for a few moments
  • Dip back under the water, flashing a dramatic tail as they did so (photo op!)

They seemed perfectly content to swim among the boats, putting on a little show as they went about their day.

After we’d watched the whales for a while (say that five times fast), we headed back to Gloucester – more hours on the clear blue sea. We neared the harbor just as the golden hour was setting in, which made for a pretty arrival (and a gratitude-filled one for the more seasick among us). Overall, a bit of a long excursion but a nice way to spend a beautiful afternoon. (I mean, nature is awesome.)

Coming Home to Gloucester
Sailing Ship at Golden Hour

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 32-35

More from our weekly photography challenge! I’ve almost caught you up to where we are…kinda?

Week 32 – Technical: HDR [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
HDR is the technique of combining several photos of the same scene but shot at different exposures to create an image with a High Dynamic Range.

I am not good with HDR (I  think it might be that it’s just not my personal photography style) – so I may have cheated a bit with some post filtering to get this HDR look.

Dogwood Week 32 Continue reading

Out and About in Massachusetts: Quarry Dance 6

The Boy and I were in Massachusetts recently for a wedding, and as our services weren’t needed the morning before the wedding we were looking for something to do. As it so happened, that morning at breakfast our B&B hostess told us about Quarry Dance 6, an event happening at the nearby Flat Ledge Quarry.

Flat Ledge Quarry

Note: that’s the last picture you’ll see of the quarry without dancers or a plastic flamingo in it, so prepare to play a little “Where’s Waldo” if you don’t spot them immediately.

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Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 28-31

We’re still catching up with the weekly photos challenges! Here’s a few more…

Week 28 – Story: Portrait as Landscape 
[Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Shoot a portrait that is posing as a landscape. Tell a story of the subject using the landscape around them. Fool the viewer.

I didn’t come across any good actual landscapes to serve in this challenge, so I ended up getting creative with Photoshop and a self-portrait.

Dogwood Week 28
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No Recipe Required: Berry Crumble

If I’m going to bring dessert to a party, I want to make it – I don’t get to do a ton of baking (since if I bake without occasion the two of us just…eat it all), so I always jump at the opportunity. Sometimes, however, there come those events that are timed just such that you don’t have time to hit the grocery store or prep a pie crust with enough time to let it chill. Enter: Crumble.

Berry Crumble

Crumble is a simple but extremely effective dessert – cooked, jammy fruit topped with crunchy, sweet, crispy, buttery goodness. With the help of The Kitchn’s recipe, I’ll walk you through it, but it’s pretty flexible once you’ve got the basics. Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 24-27

Clearly, I’m behind on my blog posting, but I HAVE been keeping up with the Dogwood Photography Challenge behind the scenes. Here’s the first in a series of posts to get you all caught up on where we are with that…

Week 24 – Artistic: Green 
[Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your inspiration this week is green. Green is the color of life, nature, and hope.

Green seems like it should be easy, but only at the last minute did I land on this arrangement of pretty succulents.

Dogwood Week 24
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Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 21, 22, & 23

I might be behind on my posting, but not on my photo-taking! Here are the most recent three weeks of the photography challenge…

Week 21 – Artistic: Soft [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your artistic inspiration this week is soft. Just like hard earlier in the challenge, soft is both and adjective and an adverb. Interpret this how you will.

We happened to be in Kaua’i the week of this challenge, and the soft, gorgeous sands of Polihale Beach made the perfect subject.

Dogwood Week 21 Continue reading